2022-10-26 Artificially Smart and Trustworthy Cities - Charlie Catlett

Artificially Smart and Trustworthy Cities

Speaker: Charlie CatlettSenior Computer Scientist, U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, and

Visiting Scientist, University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

6:00 PM to 7:00 PM CDT

Online Event


For the past decade, 'smart city' projects have emphasized measurement, data analytics, and modeling---all of which are critical to new ways to optimize cities and more importantly, new applications to make cities "better" for their inhabitants.

In Chicago, what began in 2012 as an ambitious urban measurement initiative (The Array of Things, or "AoT") almost immediately evolved to emphasize new types of measurements that typically require human observers. This drove an ambitious computing architecture embracing edge computing and AI to create a generative platform to support the design and development of “software-defined sensors.”

Why? Because scientists, policymakers, and residents alike were asking for data that cannot be easily measured with electronic sensors. For instance, going beyond counting vehicles to understanding their flows, the mix of vehicle types, or factors influencing safety. This requires not only cameras but also sophisticated AI to analyze images and video.

By supporting such platforms, we can begin to explore how software-defined sensors might provide measurements to improve our understanding of cities across a range of dimensions, from social sciences to traffic safety to environmental sciences. At the same time, introduction of these technologies also requires building and maintaining trust with residents. Catlett will discuss Argonne’s software-defined sensing platform along with lessons learned working with residents and organizations in the City of Chicago, in context of the expanded vision of the team's current project, SAGE, also funded by the National Science Foundation.

About the Speaker:

Charlie Catlett is a Senior Computer Scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and a Visiting Scientist at the University of Chicago’s Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation. His research focuses on urban data analytics, urban modeling, and the design and use of intelligent sensing and “AI-at-the-edge” computing technologies embedded in urban infrastructure and the environment. He led the NSF-funded “Array of Things” project, now part of the NSF-funded SAGE program to embed AI in urban, environmental, and emergency response settings.

From 1995-2000 Charlie was Chief Technology Officer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, having joined NCSA at its founding in 1985 to work on NSFNET, an early component of Internet.

Charlie was recognized as one of Chicago’s “Tech 50” technology leaders by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2014, and nationally as one of “25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers” of 2016 by Government Technology magazine. He received the Argonne Director’s award in 2001 for his work designing and deploying a state-wide fiber optic network, and the Argonne Board of Governors Distinguished Performance Award in 2019. Charlie is a Computer Engineering graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


(Chicago Central time)

6:00 pm - Brief introductions

6:05 pm - Talks by Charlie Catlett

6:50 pm - Q&A

7:00 pm - End


IMPORTANT: Complete both registrations:

Note: You must register with Zoom for the remote broadcast, registering in Meetup does not give you access to the Zoom meeting.

1 - Reserve on Meetup


2 - Register with the Zoom event


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